The 2014 Open Championship arrives at Royal Liverpool Golf Club, Hoylake, next month. It will be the 11th time Royal Liverpool has hosted the Open, but only the second time since 1967. GOLF RETAILING looks forward to an event that remains a central focal point for the trade as well as for the golf world at large
The official lines
The R&A has shared some facts about the 2014 Open Championship Merchandise Pavilion with GOLF RETAILING. This year the pavilion will cover more than 17,500 square feet in the main shop, with two satellite concession stands also on offer at Royal Liverpool. The total retail stock for the week will total over 100,000 items, and past experience suggests that most of it will sell. For punters looking to buy a souvenir from the Open, Sunday is not the best day for shopping, as stocks are likely to be well depleted by then. The Open’s online shop is up and running and serves as an extension of the pavilion.
Open patron Ralph Lauren will dominate the Open’s apparel offering, including its Polo Ralph Lauren, RLX and Ralph Lauren Golf collections. Polo Ralph Lauren is supplying a specifically designed Open Championship Collection, along with apparel lines from its Spring 2014 collections. The Open Collection apparel and accessories, Ahead headwear, Ecco, Kate Lord, Links and Kings and Ulster Weavers will also feature, with Rolex and the jewellers Hamilton and Inches also having their own concession.
Huxley Golf Supports the R&A’s Swingzone
For the fourth consecutive year, spectators visiting this year’s Open Championship will be able to enjoy expert tuition from PGA coaches on a large Huxley Golf all-weather putting green specially commissioned by The R&A.
“The R&A Swingzone offers a unique opportunity for golfing enthusiasts to benefit from world-class tuition in what is always a hugely popular facility,” says Alison White, Assistant Director of Golf Development at The R&A. “At last year’s Open Championship at Muirfield, the large Huxley Golf all-weather putting green in The R&A Swingzone was highly regarded by both PGA teaching professionals and visitors, and so we asked Huxley Golf to provide this excellent facility once again at this year’s Open”.
The Huxley Golf premier quality putting green will measure approximately 24ft x 36ft and promises to provide a true and consistent surface.
“Approximately 22 PGA professionals from all over Great Britain and Ireland will be coaching at The R&A’s Swingzone at Royal Liverpool this year,” adds Jonathan Wright, Training Executive for the PGA. “About 25% of the coaches will be female, as the emphasis will be on coaching for the whole family rather than for junior development only.”
Paul Huxley, Director of Huxley Golf, said: “We’re delighted to be supporting The R&A again this year and adding to the world-class practice facilities at the R&A Swingzone. Last year, we received many compliments about the Huxley putting green from the PGA professionals who were teaching there, and so we are very much looking forward to supporting The R&A and the PGA professionals again at Royal Liverpool.”
Huxley Golf is the PGA’s official supplier and installer of premier all-weather putting and chipping greens, providing surfaces for golf around the world. Clients include training and coaching establishments, golf resorts, ranges and academies, as well as several Open Championship and Ryder Cup venues.
Consumer research conducted by SPORTS MARKETING SURVEYS INC. among over 2,000 UK golfers at the end of 2013 shows that 45% of golfers think the Open Championship is the most interesting major championship of the year, ahead of the Masters, the US Open and the US PGA Championship. However, golfers aged under 35 were the only age group to disagree, rating the Masters as the most interesting major of the year.
The data below comes from SPORTS MARKETING SURVEYS INC., who has shared with GOLF RETAILING a comparison between the clubs used per golfer on the European Tour during the 2013 season, and the clubs used during the 2013 Open Championship itself.
The figures do not show enormous fluctuations, although use of one and two irons increased from 0.07 clubs per bag on the European Tour, to 0.25 clubs per bag at the Open. That is still only one in four Open golfers playing a one or two iron, but shows the preference for lower ball flights beneath the winds of Muirfield, and on fairways that ran very hard and fast last year.
Those fast-running fairways placed a premium on accuracy rather than driving distance, and in fact 2013 Open champion, Phil Mickelson, did not carry a driver in his bag throughout the tournament, opting instead for a Callaway X Hot 3Deep 13 degree three-wood, which featured a clubface that was 10 percent taller than Callaway’s original X Hot three-wood, thereby just raising the sweetspot slightly for Mickelson’s tee shots. The change of club was a masterstroke from Mickelson, who won his first Claret Jug by three shots.
For further information from SPORTS MARKETING SURVEYS INC., contact Richard Payne:
T: 01932 345 539 E: Richard.firstname.lastname@example.org
Opportunity knocks for Golf Foundation
The Open Championship at Royal Liverpool will provide the perfect showcase for the Golf Foundation’s HSBC Golf Roots programme, that is reaching more than 750,000 boys and girls every year in schools, golf clubs and communities.
The leading golf charity is playing a major role in encouraging more young people into golf clubs to enjoy regular play and the ‘Skills for Life’ benefits the sport has to offer.
Championship organisers The R&A will create ‘The R&A Swingzone’ in the tented village at Royal Liverpool for the whole of Open week. Here, the Golf Foundation team of eight regional officers will deliver golf activity on behalf of the England Golf Partnership, sharing the facility with coaches from the PGA, and welcoming many school groups from the region to enjoy this unique event.
Young boys and girls will enjoy ‘Tri-Golf’ and ‘StreetGolf’ challenges, competitions and a special putting challenge supported by Titleist, all with the Foundation team. In a typical Open week, more than 3,000 golf challenges will be enjoyed by children of all ages.
Professional stars who are competing in The Open itself are also being invited to take part in lively skills competitions with the youngsters to find the best Tri-Golfer in the world. Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen, Lee Westwood and Colin Montgomerie are just some of the names who have joined in with the children to support the Golf Foundation in recent years.
Mike Round, Chief Executive of the Golf Foundation, said: “Thanks to The R&A, The Open week offers us a great opportunity to demonstrate our work in developing the game at the grass roots.
“The Foundation team looks forward to working side-by-side with the PGA Professionals to grow the game. Just as the big names will inspire the youngsters on the course, we hope to inspire many children to pick up a club and have a go at golf.”